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Guangdong TV Makes Controversial Move to Ditch Cantonese Language News

Posted: 07/13/2014 11:00 am

cantonese support The further marginalisation of Cantonese is underway following Guangdong TV’s quiet decision to replace news currently broadcast in the southern language with Putonghua. The change is set to take place in September. An unidentified source said, ”This is being done quietly, without any official promotion or notification to audiences.”

The move is reminiscent of a previous move towards Putonghua-language programming in 2010 on Guangzhou Television, which sparked protests in Guangzhou and Hong Kong over the marginalisation of Cantonese. Guangzhou TV eventually dropped the idea.

The news this time around was no better received:

I can understand spoken Putonghua, but I would rather listen to Cantonese. Cantonese is the language of my forefathers that has been passed down to me…!! For outsiders that want to listen to the news, you shouldn’t watch Guangdong Satelite TV… there are other news that report Guangdong news in Putonghua [angry.emo]

Why must the local department continually supress Cantonese media?

Don’t say that I am an angry youth (fenqing)! In fact, there should be respect given to the local culture and language! Language is the basis for an area’s culture and history; it’s a definite symbol! The crux of promoting Putonghua comes from deep within people’s hearts and whether or not they like this country, and if the people want to learn it on their own. It’s isn’t to force them to learn it against their will! you can change the language of one program, but can you change the will of the people?! Really no alternative. [rabbit.emo]

It’s only right for outsiders to adapt to the local environment, and not the other way around, so long as the locals welcome outsiders. Aren’t outsiders supposed to adapt to the local culture?

Abandon Cantonese and promote Putonghua? Fuck your mother! (Cantonese curse)

The Cantonese language is one of the cultures of China. Preserve Cantonese

Overthrow the hegemony of Putonghua at the Guangdong TV station. Overthrow the hegemony of Guangzhou dialect at the Guangdong TV station. Anyone whose mother tongue is Cantonese and who propagates Cantonese culture must allow Meizhou, Siba, Teochew, Huizhou, Leizhou and other languages to also appear on Guangdong television.

Have considered those that speak Hakka, Chaozhou dialect and other languages? Most residents of Guangdong Province don’t speak Cantonese. Boring.

Cantonese is a language, and not a dialect.

“Some netizens are in support of this because Putonghua can help outsiders understand the local situation when coming to Guangdong.” A dog’s fart, I don’t support this idea at all. If someone wants to understand the local Cantonese culture, then we should let even more people learn Cantonese. By learning, they can understand. This will be an even wiser policy decision instead of erasing Cantonese language! We should respect the culture of every region! Residents of Guangdong should speak Cantonese!

Agree to forbid Guangdong people from speaking Cantonese, and to make Guangzhou to become the “Cantonese Capital” (a pun of sorts on “Beijing”) [applaud.emo]

A “Menstrual period” [laugh.emo] station? [support.emo]
(a pun on “Cantonese Captial”; has the same character sounds)

Photos: Chinapost


Parents Protest Opening of New Confucius Institute in Toronto

Posted: 06/16/2014 7:18 pm

confucius institute protestThe fate of a newly-opened Confucius Institute in Toronto, Canada is in doubt after a committee of school trustees advocated breaking ties with the Chinese government, reports the Globe and Mail.

The Toronto District School Board passed a motion on June 11 to investigate allegations of censorship performed by the Chinese government after local parents expressed concern over Mandarin language classes offered by the institution to elementary school students.

Concerned with the influence the Chinese government has over his 13 year-old daughter, Toronto resident and FLG member Michael Lewis started a website called to alert parents to the issues surrounding the Confucius Institute. An online petition has already gained 600 signatures.

As school boards around Canada deal with budget cuts and declining enrollment, Confucius Institutes offer a way to attract international students from China through the state agency known as Hanban.

Allegations against the Confucius Institute include censorship and disseminating propaganda. A job advertisement on the website for the University of Hunan says that “candidates will be assessed to ensure they meet political ideology requirements.” McMaster University has already cut its ties with Confucius Institutes over their hiring policies.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) issued a statement last December that urged universities and colleges to sever relationships with Confucius Institutes in Canada, saying they are “subsidized and supervised by the authoritarian government of China.”

Said James Turk, CAUT executive director: “They restrict the free discussion of topics Chinese authorities deem controversial and should have no place on our campuses.”

The board will vote on the committee’s recommendation on June 18.

The following are images taken from

saynotoci confucius institute protestsaynotoci confucius institute protest

Photo: saynotoci


Understand Spoken Chinese Commands When a Cop is Pointing a Gun at You

Posted: 04/30/2014 5:36 pm

police guns guangzhou metroRecent news that the police presence around the country will be increased in cities like Guangzhou as well as be equipped with firearms is reassuring to an anxious public. If you weren’t scared before, you’ll be scared now—if you’re a criminal, that is.

Now that there are more guns on the streets of China, we can expect police to use these firearms in a greater capacity than they did when firing warning shots to break up a brawl in Guangzhou. But the question remains: what do you do if a police officer points a gun at you and issues you commands in Chinese?

It could be that this police officer speaks excellent English, and will use this as an opportunity to practice his rusty English skills. However, we still think that there as a resident in a locality where police have guns, the onus is upon you to understand what they are saying.

We can only hope that such an occasion will never come to pass, but if you ever get into such a predicament, we’d suggest you to follow their commands. Based upon our observations of years of Western TV police dramas, here are the phrases that you would hear when a police officer is pointing a gun at you:

1. 不许动 (Bù xǔ dòng): “Don’t move!” The equivalent to our “Freeze!” which doesn’t have the same connotation in Chinese.

2. 你被捕了 (Nǐ bèi bǔ le): “You’re under arrest.” If this is preceded by #1, make #1 the overriding command instead of this one.

3. 把手放在头上 (Bǎ shǒu fàng zài tóu shàng): “Put your hands on your head.” A tailor may also tell you this when measuring your waist.

4. 转身退后 (Zhuǎnshēn, tuì hòu): “Turn around, walk backwards.” This phrase can also come in handy if the person on the other line has gotten lost and can’t tell where they are.

5. 把身份证拿出来 (Bǎ shēnfèn zhèng ná chūlái): “Take out your identification.” While your visa may have gotten you out of trouble before, it doesn’t always mean it will.

Bonus: 这不是我的事 (Zhè bùshì wǒ de shì): “I don’t care.” Only relevant if you’re being chased by a one-armed man and you want to tell Chinese Tommy Lee Jones that you didn’t kill your wife.

Chinese cops should be fans of Law & Order—there must be a Chinese Lennie Brisco somewhere. But we didn’t include “Why do they always run?” because it isn’t technically a command.

We don’t have a translation for Miranda rights.

Photo: dzwww


Visual translation app Waygo now helps with Chinese pronunciation

Posted: 11/13/2013 10:00 am

The smartphone app market is full of Chinese translation apps, but not all of them do it well — and not all of them offer a differentiating feature that stands out from the crowd.

Now Waygo, a freemium iOS app on the iPhone, has added a useful new feature with its 3.0 update (along with a design overhaul). As well as translating Chinese characters when you hover your smartphone above them, Wagyo will now also show you the pinyin to help with pronunciation.

Waygo secured $900,000 in funding in July to launch an Android app and continue building out its product. Before that, in June, it won the “Most Promising Startup” award at Echelon in Singapore. It certainly looks like one to keep an eye on if you’re living in China.

You can trial Waygo for free on a basis of 10 translation per day, but if you want to do more than that you’re going to have to pay $6.99. However, with of so many free high-quality translation apps available, would you hand over your hard-earned cash for this feature? Let us know in the comments.

In other Chinese language app news, highly-regarded Pleco has recently updated its iOS app. It’s a complete revamp, and also includes optical character recognition.

At the end of October, The Nanfang reported on a pair of augmented reality glasses that can translate a Chinese menu into English.

Photo credit: Lee Yiu Tung
Story via: TheNextWeb 


Two laowai kids speaking perfect Canto (and accented English)

Posted: 02/27/2012 10:00 am

White Mandarin speakers are now more common than Jeremy Lin stories, so it’s no longer so impressive when a laowai opens his mouth and Putonghua comes out.

The same can’t quite be said for Cantonese, however.  The language is difficult, with some estimating it contains anywhere from six to nine tones.  To make matters worse, there isn’t the same standardized romanization for Cantonese, like pinyin for Mandarin.  Yes, standards exist, but none have become dominant (the MTR uses different standards for different station names, even).

The topic of Cantonese is an interesting one in our region.  While Guangzhou is the heart of the culture, the Cantonese language is slowly becoming maligned in the city.  It’s common to travel in Shenzhen or Zhuhai and not hear it at all, as those cities were largely populated by migrants over the past 30 years.  But Cantonese pride is as strong as ever, as evidenced last year when protests erupted in both Guangzhou and Hong Kong over the government’s plans to limit television broadcasts in Cantonese.

This is a roundabout way of saying the language may not have the reach of Mandarin (although even this is debatable, considering the plethora of overseas Cantonese communities), but that could be because it is far more difficult to learn for non-native speakers.  Which makes these two white kids even more impressive.

Make sure to watch the whole thing, as their imitation of Cantonese English is pretty much spot on (we could do without the videographer’s stale commentary, however).


Tight restrictions on Cantonese broadcasts set for 2012

Posted: 12/19/2011 3:40 pm

Here’s some shocking news for those who speak Cantonese as their mother tongue:

“National” standard language of Guangdong province regulations were published on the Guangdong provincial government website on December 12 declaring that as of March 1, any radio, TV or film content containing spoken Cantonese or other local dialects will need prior permission from the State Council or the local government media regulators before airing. For films and TV broadcasts which receive approval, Cantonese segments will be required to have subtitles.

Obviously, this has sparked a wave of discussions regarding the future of Cantonese and even of the PRD’s Lingnan culture. Local netizens have been quite vocal on Sina Weibo in their strong opposition to the regulations:

“What a stupid decision they made!”
“What are the standards for implementing this?”
“It’s a kind of cultural invasion!”
“They don’t need to promote Mandarin, everyone can speak Mandarin.”

In addition, civil servants, broadcasters, tourist guides and others who serve the public will now be required to speak Mandarin in all circumstances during working hours.

If the regulations do end up being implemented, many radio and TV shows in Guangdong such as “Today’s sights of Shantou City,” which broadcasts in the local Shantou dialect, will face a certain future.

The last time authorities tried this, the whole city got up in arms and thousands of people rallied in opposition, followed by the occupation of Beijing Rd. for several hours a week later.

Hong Kong blogger Pete Spurrier was at the first protest last summer, about which he wrote at the time:

It was the first demonstration I’ve seen in China, and it almost didn’t happen: the organizer was placed under house arrest the night before. The event was officially banned. But news of it spread online and by word of mouth, and by the time we arrived at the Kong Lam Sai metro station just after 5:30pm, hundreds of people had already gathered in the street, chanting “Cantonese, Cantonese!” and holding up banners. Every now and then, someone would shout something to the crowd — “Guangzhou people speak Guangzhou language!” — and everyone would cheer. An Apple Daily journalist with us estimated the crowd at 1,000. Most were young, in their 20s and 30s, and almost everyone was recording the event on cameras or mobile devices.

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